Frequently Asked Questions

Entries for the 2016 OJAs will open in April 2016.

Q. Our organization is a subsidiary of a bigger entity. What size category should we choose?

A. It depends. If the smaller organization received no material support — editorial, financial, technical or otherwise — or benefits of the larger entity, and the organizations truly are separate production operations, for example, the way the Mayberry Times would be separate from Global Amalgamated Media, then you can base your decision on the size of the smaller organization.

However, if your organization is really just a division within a company — for example, the web team for the Metro Times — or you received some other form of editorial, financial, technical or other support from the larger group, then you should take into account the whole organization.

Remember, the size of the editorial staff includes reporters, editors, designers, newsroom coders, etc. at the entire organization, including corporate affiliates. If your site is a sub-URL or subdomain of another site and shares the design, cms and commenting platform, and somebody can buy ads for your site and another site in a “run of network” deal, you need to include the larger organization when determining your size.

Make sure you explain your rationale when you make your entry, as the judges will make the final determination as to which size category your entry belongs.

Q. How should we handle partnerships when determining what size category to enter?

A. You should add up the total staffs of both organizations and use that number to determine your category size.

Q. The University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism has a Small/Medium and a Large category. How does that impact how I submit my entry?

A. If you fit the Small category or Medium category as outlined in the eligibility section, simply submit your entry accordingly. As this is a newer award, we expect that there will be fewer entries in these two categories, so they were combined for this year.

Q. My professor helped me with my project. Can it still be considered for a student award?

A. Probably. We expect students to receive guidance and support from their professors. The question is, how significant was the assistance? If the professor provided feedback or helped troubleshoot problems, that’s fine. If the professor edited your video or provided material used in the project, that could be a problem. Make your best judgment and then describe exactly the role your professor(s) played in the project so the judges can take that into consideration.

Q. What is the Student Pro-Am category and who is eligible for it?

A. The Student Pro-Am category is for those entries that were produced by students in an academic environment, but with professional support, collaboration, and/or compensation. This is different from the Student Small and Large categories, where only work completed exclusively by students may be entered. Note, this is not intended to honor work of interns in professional organizations.

Q. How should I count staff?

A. You should include anyone who works for your organization, regardless of job function. For part-time staff, you are welcome to base your number on “full-time equivalents.”

Be sure to explain the reasoning behind your size choice when you make your entry.

Q. We have 40 people on our staff, but we used 20 freelancers on our project, in addition to our staff. Are we still “small”?

A. Probably not. If the project you are submitting included people who are not part of your staff, then you should add up all the contributors and enter into the appropriate size category.

Q. Which category should I enter my award into?

A. That is totally up to your reading of the categories and we are unable to provide guidance on that subject. Note: Judges will not move entries from one category to another.

Q. Can I enter the same project into multiple categories?

A. No. Unlike in past years, a project can be entered only in one category. Judges will not move projects between categories.

Q. I entered a project last year, and then updated it. Can I enter it again?

A. Yes, but be sure to explain what’s new about the project for this year. The judges will focus on that element of the project.

Q. I’ve changed my project since it first launched. Is it still eligible?

A. Yes, just be sure to explain when and how the entry has changed. Judges must be able to evaluate the project as it was entered based on work done during the eligibility window. If judges are unable to do that, your entry may be disqualified.

Q. You ask for up to 8 example links in some cases, but have only five places for a URLs. What gives?

A. We made a mistake and have since corrected it. You can submit up to five links for an entry.

Q. If we submit a project in one category, can we reference it in General Excellence or another category?

A. Yes. General excellence isn’t about one story, it’s about the entire site, including anything you might otherwise enter. There are also other instances where something you do in one entry might come up in another — a technology you’ve developed or a portfolio where one element could be entered into its own category. That’s fine. What isn’t allowed is the same entry in both Features and Sports, for example.

Q. This year’s entries run from June 16, 2014, through May 15, 2015. Isn’t that leaving out a month?

A. True, this year’s awards covers just 11 months, but last year covered anything published through June 15, 2014, and next year’s awards will start with entries published starting May 16, 2015. So, all of the dates will be covered.

Q. My question isn’t addressed here. Whom can I call or email to ask about my issue?

A. You can email awards@journalists.org and we’ll do our best to help.